SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Councilman and mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer released a three-point plan Monday to deal with understaffing at the San Diego Police Department.
The release comes as the San Diego Police Officers Association is deliberating over which candidate to endorse for the Nov. 19 special election.
Faulconer said his plans include streamlining recruiting and hiring processes, closing a gap in compensation when compared to nearby agencies and investing in staffing and equipment.
"One of the most important things we have to do at the city is to ensure that we have safe neighborhoods," Faulconer told reporters at a news conference. "To do that, we have to make sure we have the number of police officers a city the size of San Diego should have."
"We're short of that," Faulconer said. "This plan will address that and it is something that is important for every single neighborhood, no matter where you live in the city of San Diego."
According to SDPD and union officials, the department has been losing 10 officers a month over the past year to neighboring jurisdictions where the take-home pay is better. The attrition rate has been similar for several years now.
The department says it employs more than 100 fewer officers than are budgeted.
On top of the attrition, the SDPD also faces having half of its officers reach retirement age over the next four years.
Faulconer, one of 11 candidates hoping to finish the term of Bob Filner, said he would dedicate city personnel staff to the SDPD to speed up hiring, add part-time investigators to make background checks for prospective hires, increase compensation and reduce health care costs, develop support programs for officers and their families, support the department's five-year plan to improve staffing and equipment and modernize or replace police facilities.
The City Council recently voted to spend $2 million to increase uniform and equipment allowances and pay for recruitment booths at community events.
Faulconer said city officials need to have the "political will" to dedicate increased revenues and savings from bidding out municipal services toward the police department.